Servant or Slave?
If we give ourselves unreservedly to God, many adjustments may have to be made: in family, or business, or church relationships, or in the matter of our personal views. God will not let anything of ourselves remain. His finger will touch, point by point, everything that is not of him, and will say: "Thus must go." Are you willing? It is foolish to resist God, and always wise to submit to him. We admit that many of us still have controversies with the Lord. He wants something, while we want something else. Many things we dare not look into, dare not pray about, dare not even think about, lest we lose our peace. We can evade the issue in that way, but to do so will bring us out of the will of God. It is always an easy matter to get out of his will, but it is a blessed thing just to hand ourselves over to him and let him have his way with us.
How good it is to have the consciousness that we belong to the Lord and are not our own. There is nothing more precious in the world. It is that which brings the awareness of his continual presence, and the reason is obvious. I must first have the sense of God's possession of me before I can have the sense of his presence with me. When once his ownership is established, then I dare do nothing in my own interest, for I am his exclusive property. "Know ye not, that to whom ye present yourselves as servants unto obedience, his servants ye are whom ye obey?" (Romans 6:16) The word here rendered "servant" really signifies a bondservant, a slave. This word is used several times in the second half of Romans 6. What is the difference between a servant and a slave? A servant may serve another, but the ownership does not pass to that other. If he likes his master he can serve him, but if he does not like him he can give in his notice and seek another master. Not so is it with the slave. He is not only the servant of another but he is the possession of another, How did I become the slave of the Lord? On his part he bought me, and on my part I presented myself to him. By right of redemption I am God's property, but if I would be his slave I must willingly give myself to him, for he will never compel me to do so.
The trouble with many Christians today is that they have an insufficient idea of what God is asking of them, How glibly they say: "Lord, I am willing for anything." Do you know that God is asking of you your very life? There are cherished ideals, strong wills, precious relationships, much-loved work, that will have to go; so do not give yourself to God unless you mean it. God will take you seriously, even if you did not mean it seriously.
When the Galilean boy brought his bread to the Lord, what did the Lord do with it? He broke it. God will always break what is offered to him. He breaks what he takes, but after breaking it he blesses and uses it to meet the needs of others. After you give yourself to the Lord, he begins to break what was offered to him. Everything seems to go wrong, and you protest and find fault with the ways of God. But to stay there is to be no more than just a broken vessel- no good for the world because you have gone too far for the world to use you, and no good for God either because you have not gone far enough for him to use you. You are out of gear with the world, and you have a controversy with God. This is the tragedy of many a Christian.
My giving of myself to the Lord must be an initial fundamental act. Then, day by day, I must go on giving to him, not finding fault with his use of me, but accepting with praise even what the flesh finds hard. That way lies true enrichment.
I am the Lord's, and now no longer reckon myself to be my own but acknowledge in everything his ownership and authority. That is the attitude God delights in, and to maintain it is true consecration. I do not consecrate myself to be a missionary or a preacher; I consecrate myself to God to do his will where I am, be it in school, office or kitchen or wherever he may, in his wisdom, send me. Whatever he ordains for me is sure to be the very best, for nothing but good can come to those who are wholly his.
May we always be possessed by the consciousness that we are not our own.